Kalumbila Minerals Limited (KML), a First Quantum Minerals (FQM) subsidiary, has issued 23 letters of separation to its expatriate employees in response to the hiked 2019 mining fiscal regime.

KML Public Relations Coordinator Mirriam Harmon stated that the mining firm, which operates the Sentinel Copper Mine in Kalumbila District, has so far issued letters of separation to 23 of its expatriates, making them redundant.

She, however, mentioned that local workers have not been issued with any redundancy letters yet.

The job cuts are part of the FQM’s massive staff downsizing of around 2,500 local and foreign employees expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of this year.

This follows implementation of the 2019 mining fiscal regime by government effective January 1, 2019, which sees an increase in mineral royalty rates by 1.5 percentage points at all levels of the sliding scale.

Government has, among other key measures, rolled out import duties of five per cent on copper and cobalt, while equally introduced an export duty on precious metals including gold, precious stones and gemstones at the rate of 15 per cent from January 1, 2019.

“The current and correct number is 23 expatriate members of staff have received redundancy letters. No letters have been issued to local staff yet,” stated Harmon responding to a press query, Friday.

Last month, FQM, the Canadian miner, which also runs Kansanshi Mining Plc in Solwezi, stated that the hiked tax rates triggered a “difficult and sad decision” to make lay-offs.

On January 2, FQM director of operations Matt Pascal, who ended his management role with FQM in Zambia, also explained in a lengthy statement that the decision to lay-off some of its staff was to ensure the mining company was not taxed to death.